hello. welcome to nhk "newsline". i'm keikichi hanada in tokyo. iraqi government forces are stepping up efforts to block the advance of militants. sunni extremists have taken control of key cities in the north. they are now moving toward the capital baghdad. >> the extremists have already seized iraq's second largest city mosul and other cities in the north. prime minister nuri al malaki has ordered a full-scale
military operation against the militants. government troops carried out helicopter attacks on insurgency including tikrit, 150 kilometers north of baghdad. iraq security officials say shia militia groups joined the operation by friday to block the advance. a shia leader read out the statement issued by the highest authority grand ayatollah sistani called on people to support the maliki government and take up arms against the militants. there are concerns that if shia residents join the fighting it will rekindle the kind of sectarian strife that threatened to turn into a civil war following the u.s.-led invasion of iraq. meanwhile, president rouhani has not ruled out the possibility of his company -- country cooperating with the
united states to deal with the crisis in iraq. rouhani made an address in the capital of tehran on saturday. he said iraq is iran's neighbor and friend, and that, quote, we will consider any request for help from iraq. rouhani also said if any terrorist group approaches iran's border and threatens the country, iranians will definitely respond with every possible means. iran's president blamed the u.s. and european countries for the rise of sunni militancy in the middle east. but he said all countries must unite in combatting terrorism. >> translator: iranians would consider cooperation with the u.s. if it begins to take action against terrorist groups in iraq. >> iron iran and the united
states have been at odds regarding the nuclear development program. ukrainian officials say pro-russian separatists have shot down a military plane in eastern ukraine killing all 49 people onboard. government forces and pro-russian insurgents have been fighting in the eastern part of the country since april. officials from ukraine's defense ministry say the aaleutian 76 transport plane crashed early on saturday. the plane was about to land at an airport in the eastern city. of luhansk. there were 49 people on board, including soldiers who were being rotated to replace troops stationed in the region. the plane was carrying weapons and other military equipment. ukraine's newly inaugurated president, petro poroshenko, called for a cease-fire within the week, but the situation in the region has only worsened.
more bad news for general motors. officials have announced another recall of more than half a million vehicles. they say they've identified several problems, including defects with the ignition switches. this brings the number of vehicles recalled by the u.s. automaker this year to more than 16 million. the officials say the recall affects more than 500,000 chevrolet camaros, sold mostly in north america. they say a driver's knee could accidentally move the ignition switch out of the run position, causing the engine to shut off. the company says the problem may have caused several accidents that resulted in minor injuries. the automaker has announced more than 30 recalls this year. the total number of vehicles far exceeds the number of new cars that the company sold around the world in 2013.
the latest recalls come after gm fired 15 employees in connection with allegations that a company covered of fatal defects and failed to address the problems for more than ten years. the ceo, mary barra, is likely to come under criticism when she testifies at the congressional hearing next week. japanese actor has received what is often called a nobel prize of architecture this year with this year's prize. the award ceremony was held at the museum in amsterdam on friday with dutch royalty and past prize recipients attending. the organizer praised his achievements saying he haus shown that beauty, practicality and humanity can coexist and for proving that great architectural structures can be built in areas hit by disasters. after receiving a medal, he said
the prize will encourage him to continue his way of creating wonderful architecture around the world. he designed the building in northeastern france and other cultural facilities around the globe. the architecture is also actively helping areas hit by disaster in japan and around the world. following the march 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern japan, he used shipping containers to build temporary housing for displaced people. next we have a world cup update. japan and its three rivals in group c are all playing on saturday. the colombia versus greece match was of particular interest here in japan.
just five minutes into the first half, colombia's pablo al mero opened the scores. and the 58th minute, gutierrez swept in from the corner to give colombia its second goal. just before the end of time, number 10 hamas rodriguez added an insurance goal for colombia. the match ended 3-0. with the victory, colombia has three points to lead group c. japan and cote deivory. japanese soccer fans are watching the world cup in brazil and getting set for their team to join the action. some have taken the opportunity to look at the spectacle a little closer to home. crowds of people gather to see an illumination at tokyo tower
lit up. the players preparing to take the field against cote deiviore saturday. >> translator: i took a photo because of the wind. >> translator: these blue lights. >> officials will light up the tower on june 19th and 24th on the eves of japan's group "c" matches against greece and colombia. they're eliminated again if japan qualifies for the second round. up next, the world weather forecast.
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